Responding to the Promises of Jesus (Week 4)

2020: A Year of Celebration!

The Promises of Eternity!

Key Verses: 2 Peter 3:3-18



Peter speaks to the church in in his second letter, chapter 3, verses 3-18 (2 Peter 3:13-18):


Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You, therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.


We live with an unshakable and unquenchable hope because of Jesus’ promises of eternity! This hope is not only for our own souls, but for all of creation. It is a dual hope so that we do not despair; we can join with all of creation in worship to the Creator God.


Paul speaks of this dual hope (for us and for creation) in Romans 8:18-25:


For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.



Here are three ways you can respond to Jesus’ promises for eternity and persevere in this life:


1. FOCUS on the Giver of Hope — Jesus Christ!


Hebrews 12:2-3 teaches us that this is the example of Jesus Christ at the Cross, as the author commands us to
“fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”


With the hope of eternity, you can face your daily life with joy. Joy is an essential ingredient in the Christian life. Without it, you are left without strength to face your circumstances!


Joy, like hope, comes from resting in the promises of Jesus. Listen for Jesus’ words in Revelation 21:1-8,


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” [emphasis added]


2. FOLLOW Jesus in how we face our circumstance — with an eternal perspective!


John 18, the chapter which shares the story of Jesus’ crucifixion from His best friend’s memories, confronts us with the weaknesses of humanity, the corruption of religion and government, and the fickleness of public opinion. This is a story about betrayal amongst the closest of friends, the lust for power, the greed for influence, the abuse of authority, and the weakness of human leadership.


Jesus’ crucifixion forever mocks our efforts to find hope in this world or in people. In other words, it is a story relevant for this day and age, right here in our country, our communities, our churches, our homes, and in our own hearts.


We are to follow Jesus’ example! Jesus did not despair and give up because He knew the first point of this sermon: He modeled what it looked like to keep your eyes focused on the Giver of Hope.


Jesus then made decisions on how to face His greatest trial and temptation with an eternal perspective. The hope the Father poured into Him gave Him the courage to do what needed to be done in the face of overwhelming evidence to despair. John 18:11 records Jesus saying to Peter, who was currently reacting out of the stress of the moment rather than an eternal perspective,
“Put your sword away into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”


Jesus was saying to Peter: Stop panicking! Can’t you see that My Father has got this? Remain faithful to Me and the Way! There is always hope!


Listen to Jesus’ eternal perspective as He stood before the man who had the power to send Him to the Cross. From John 18:36-37,
“My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest… But now my kingdom is from another place… for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to Me.”


Keep an eternal perspective because our circumstances never tell the whole story. Rarely is everything as it should be. You can get lost in that reality and live your life paralyzed with fear, doubt, and insecurity. The world is not YET as it should be, SURPRISE!


That is why our hope comes from looking to the Source of all hope and living with an eternal perspective! It is a fruitless and frustrating life to look for hope in anything/one less than Jesus.




Jesus taught us this in John 14:1-6:


“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”


Do not let your heart be troubled! Don’t quit! Persevere until the end! If you fall, get back up! IT’S A CHOICE!


Do you know what is the most useless sport statistic? It’s the score before the game is over!


When I was a cadet at West Point, I went to every home football game. When we were crushing the other team and they would score, we loved to arrogantly chant, “SCOREBOARD!” It was our way of saying you may have won that battle, but we are going to win the war. The worst was when a team came back to beat us in the end.


The world loves to arrogantly chant “SCOREBOARD!” at us, but I am here to tell you that far worse than any embarrassment we experienced in a football game, the world is going to face a harsh reality on that Day of the Lord’s return.


It’s not over until the trumpet blasts, just as Paul teaches us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18,


For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.


The scoreboard does not look like it’s in our favor right now and the enemy of your soul, as well as many people of the world, are chanting “SCOREBOARD”, but don’t you dare lose heart! IT’S A CHOICE!


God promises us that we are going to have the greatest, most unbelievable come back in the history of all sports—it’s going to look and feel like you are about to be defeated and all will be lost, but don’t lose heart!


Jesus has already won that Victory!


I close with the words of Jesus from John 16:33,
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”



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